Three Days Off

These three days off came as a surprise. I just sat at home and the house was empty around me. The emptiness felt good. I haven’t been alone in the house since the end of September when I started to work. I leave the house in the morning at the same time as the kids and by the time I get back to the kibbutz in the evening, everybody is at home, sometimes waiting for me at the bus. I almost forgot how good it feels to be alone.

The work is lonely, but that time is not mine. I just make the beds, clean the toilets, scrub the washbasin, the bathtub, vacuum and mop up. Clear the dust. Well, nobody is there with me, but what can I do with that? That time is not mine.

I have been doing a lot of thinking in the past years what I would do with the time, if I had any. If it would be mine. What ever I could do… Lines and lines emerge in my head, a long list of things I wish to do, to start, to finish, to complete, finally. Books, short stories, websites, internet projects, reader-author chat sites, movies.

But it’s just lies. I’m not doing anything. Everything stays on the level of plans. And I become more and more frustrated. I am a crook, I lie to myself, to everybody. I crave something more, but those wishes won’t come true but turn inward, become daggers and hurt me, destroy me.

I told Fred that I need a therapist that makes me believe that I don’t have to do this, to destroy myself with self-reproach, with guilt. That those wishes don’t obligate me, that I am allowed to simply be, a loser, average person that can only do so much for now. Only has energy for so much. To go to work, to clean rooms in a hotel every day and with that pay to keep her head above water, feed her kids and pay the bills. To do so much is the task now, no need to do more. So much that could be done in this moment.

We moved to Israel one year ago and started a new life. I had known it wouldn’t be easy, but I had felt such a pile of failures for years that I seriously had thought that it couldn’t be worse. And it isn’t. Of course, I was hoping for some kind of miracle. Something that brought a quick solution, a quicker solution. But that didn’t happen.

Perhaps it is all a Karmic Lesson, making my living, money for me is a slow, painstaking job, step by step. There are no big jumps, big opportunities, possibilities that open up unexpectedly. And the fight is not lonely, which, naturally, is good, but at the same time family doesn’t make it possible for me to make a decision on my own. Everything has to be talked over, to be adjusted, and we don’t want the same things, it would be too simple.

And whenever I remember the list of whatever things I should be doing, all the things that would be great, that is ME, or at least I could be, my heart starts to beat faster, thinking of all the things I didn’t achieve and now at this moment am not achieving and will not achieve in the foreseeable future. So how will I be ME, and if not, what remains, simply a pile of failures? A pile of dust and bones, dust to dust, that’s it? I don’t want that to be ME, I want to be more, something special, something successful.

This is a terrible cat-and-mouse game under the leadership of my ego.

„Seems this a tragedy? Nay, rather deem this scene a comedy and be thou gay.”

I can do it for moments.

But it is not enough. (Again…)

How will I become an Israeli, a successful person in Israel, an Israeli who is not a cleaning lady, or a kindergarten teacher or a dairy maid?

I have to learn Hebrew, do it until I succeed and then possibilities will open up.

Who is that blessed soul who has this amount of patience? Not me, for sure. Who has this amount of time?

(I hope I do, with the help of God…)

Treading water in the hotel starts again tomorrow and I won’t have the time and won’t have the energy to pull myself together to write a single page. To make up something creative which I may not be able to accomplish at the moment but at least I would have the hope to do so in the future. As if you are dragged into the bog of bedsheets, scouring powder, window cleaning and bathroom utensils. And by the time you get out of it, at the end of each working day, it is really only momentum that carries you on and leads your steps on the way home, if you sit down to rest you can hardly get back up. Your body only wants rest.

And to eat. I eat more than I have eaten for years and this work of a cardio training does burn every calorie.

If it didn’t make me feel so bad, it would make me feel great. Those lazy muscles started to work again. If only I didn’t have that voice in my head for whom nothing is enough, not good enough, not enough of a result. Why, what is this work? It is nothing, it is not a result. It doesn’t bring me closer to a life I would like, at least with not the kind of speed that matters.

What is my worst character trait? I think it is impatience.

About the Author
The wind. That’s what the desert means to me, the kibbutz that I now live in. That constantly blowing wind that washes over me, slowly flushes off all the pieces of mud that has clung to me the past years. In the country I had left I would have had no chance of ever rinsing it off. But here in Israel somehow every day is a new promise, the promise of a new life.
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